An interesting patent granted to Apple on Tuesday shows some exciting technology to detect and alert iOS device owners of unauthorized use. As first noticed by AppleInsider, the patent also details some unique ways to protect sensitive data.
The patent is made up of three major parts – the detection of an unauthorized user, the gathering of information about that user, and the transfer of an alert notification to the legitimate owner.
While there is currently no way for an iOS device to determine a legitimate user, the patent details some interesting technology to do so, including heartbeat detection. Basically, the iOS device could determine whether the person holding it is the actual owner by detecting a unique heartbeat signature.
Other ways to determine the legitimate owner include taking a photograph or matching voices.
If an unauthorized user is determined, the device automatically switches into the information gathering mode. Location, photographs, voice recordings, screenshots, keylogs, and Internet usage is recorded and stored. Users can also preset the device to restrict a phone’s function and erase certain information when unauthorized use is detected.
An alert is then also sent to a “responsible party” like the device’s true owner or law enforcement with a specific message. The alert can contain the information gathered about the unauthorized usage.
And while we’ve seen numerous success stories with users being able to track their stolen or lost devices thanks to Find My iPhone, the patented technology seems to improve the system in every way. I hope we’ll eventually see it in the real world.